Article Content

The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning: How to Bring Breastfeeding to a Gentle Close and How to Decide When the Time Is Right, by Kathleen Huggins and Linda Ziedrich, 2nd ed.


This informative book begins with an in-depth history of nursing and weaning beginning with the ancient world and continuing through the modern era. It is a very interesting overview of infant feeding historically. The first chapter concludes with a section on the hazards of formula feeding. This portion of the chapter highlights many risks and poor outcomes of giving a child formula, many of which are not clearly referenced.


Chapter 2 discusses weaning before 4 months of age. The first two thirds of this chapter discuss many reasons that a mother may want to wean her young baby, and how to deal with each of these concerns or issues in order NOT to have to wean at this age. In this chapter, the reader receives the first information on how to actually wean a child from breastfeeding. This section of the chapter includes helpful information on length of weaning, formula selection, selecting bottles and nipples, getting the baby to take a bottle, preparing formula, storing formula, warming bottles, determining how much to feed and bottle-feeding as you have breastfed. Because of the very immature immune system of babies younger than 4 months, the authors recommend sterilizing formula and equipment to minimize risk of infection. There is a detailed section outlining 4 methods for sterilization followed by a discussion of evaluating water supplies for safety.


Again in chapter 3, the authors discuss situations that may cause a woman to consider weaning, and lengthy suggestions for each situation to discourage weaning at this age also. When actually discussing weaning, they again address length of weaning, formula selection, and preparation. Other topics covered in this chapter are weaning to bottle or cup and how much to feed 4- to 8-month-olds and 8- to 12-month-olds.


Weaning a 1- to 2-year-old is the topic of chapter 4. Timing of weaning, if a toddler will self-wean, and if the mother is ready to wean are addressed initially. Next, possible reasons for weaning a toddler such as pregnancy, nursing in public, the nonstop nurser, night waker, picky eater, aggressive toddler, sensuous toddler, and nursing and tooth decay are discussed in detail. The section on how to wean a toddler includes length of weaning, shortened nursings, postponement, substitution, distraction, aversion and separation methods, and just saying no.


Beyond a child's third year, both nursing and weaning are usually little trouble, and this is discussed in the final chapter of this book. The last section speaks to life after weaning, and the common emotions that both mothers and their children experience. The appendix includes resources for positioning and latch-on techniques, breastfeeding support groups, lactation professional referral services, electric breast pump rental companies, breast shells, nursing supplementer, and information about drugs in breast milk.


This detailed book is laid out in a simple-to-read format, making it easy for the reader to find the section appropriate to the age of a child. At times, it seems very biased against formula feeding by detailing many risks of formula use. There are lengthy sections on how to overcome every reason a mother might consider weaning her child from the breast. When weaning is discussed, it is thorough, with many helpful suggestions and strategies for success.